Eggnog Cheesecake Bars

Anything eggnog-related always reminds me of the movie “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” – the scene where cousin Eddie is slurping it from the little reindeer glasses. I always wanted those reindeer glasses – so festive! We never drank much eggnog in our house growing up, but I managed to try it here and there over the years. I love the kick that it has, but more than drinking it, I love baking with it. Enter these cheesecake bars. A graham cracker crust topped with cheesecake filling that has eggnog, brandy and nutmeg in it (among other things) – talk about a real kick! If you’re making a dessert tray for a holiday party or Christmas, these definitely need to be included. Your guests will thank you πŸ™‚

This cheesecake filling is creamy, smooth and, as you can imagine, packed with flavor. I had four different people taste these so far, and each one has literally been rendered speechless. All I got out of them were some grunts, “ooooh”, “mmmmm” and “Oh my God, this is amazing”. I translate that to four stars for sure.

They are addicting. And boozy. That’s what the holidays are all about, right?! Bring on the delicious merriment!

Two years ago: Chocolate Sandwich Cookies (Homemade Oreos)

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Eggnog Cheesecake Bars

Creamy cheesecake bars with a graham crust and spiked with eggnog.


Ingredients:

12 graham crackers, finely ground (1Β½ cups of crumbs)

ΒΎ cup + 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

ΒΎ cup eggnog

4 teaspoons brandy

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4Β½ teaspoons all-purpose flour

Β½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus extra for dusting

ΒΌ teaspoon salt


Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch or 9-inch square baking pan, then line with parchment paper; set aside.


2. Stir together the graham cracker crumbs, 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar, and the melted butter. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake until the crust is just brown around the edges, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool.


3. Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining ΒΎ cup granulated sugar and beat for an additional couple of minutes, until smooth. Add the eggs and yolk, eggnog, brandy and vanilla and beat again until completely combined and smooth. Finally, beat in the flour, nutmeg and salt and mix until smooth.


4. Pour the filling over the crust. Set the pan in a larger pan (a 9x13-inch works for this), and add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the baking pan. Bake until just set, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the baking pan from the water bath, and transfer to a wire rack. Let cool for 30 minutes, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.


5. Cut into 1Β½x3-inch bars. Lightly dust the tops of the bars with freshly grated nutmeg just before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


Note: If you don't wish to use the brandy, you can simply omit it.


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(Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart)


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